Corruption, fraud, and other misconduct continue to plague compliance and legal officers at multinationals around the world, according to a recent global anticorruption survey conducted by AlixPartners.
The survey explored the effect of corruption risk on the global business environment, measured the effect of anti-corruption laws and regulations on compliance-related activities, and assessed the ways companies are preventing, identifying, and handling corruption risk.
Corruption risk affects merger and acquisition activity to some extent. Thirty-six percent of respondents saying their companies pulled out of, or delayed, an acquisition due to potential corruption risk, compared with 26 percent last year.
Africa, the Middle East, and Russia were cited as the top three regions in the world where companies avoid doing business due to the risk of corruption. Still, 64 percent of respondents said they haven’t avoided doing business in a region just because of the risk of corruption, while 32 percent of respondents said they ceased doing business with a partner, up from 28 percent last year.
Most companies (75 percent) have dedicated anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies, and review them regularly. Of those responding that their companies have policies, 51 percent of respondents said they implemented an anti-corruption program in the past 10 years, while 24 percent said they did so within the past five years.
Respondents identified various ways in which they reduce risk, including:
Internal audits (85%);
Compliance policies: (85%),
Training ( 82%), and
Increased scrutiny over books and records or internal controls (80%).
Nearly all (91 percent) respondents said they’re confident about their due diligence procedures. The biggest limitations on due diligence, however, were time pressure (45 percent), access to information (41 percent), and the large number of third parties that need to be reviewed (39 percent).
The survey also examined the struggles companies face in conducting cross-border investigations. The most highly cited challenges in this area include understanding local data protection laws (77 percent) and ensuring data security (76 percent).